Were Military Dogs Left Behind in Afghanistan?

Kabul Small Animal Rescue/Twitter

No, military dogs weren’t left behind in Afghanistan.

A photo has gone viral of dogs in cages with people on social media claiming that it shows U.S. military dogs that were left behind in Afghanistan. But is it true? No, it’s not.

The U.S. military has denied that it left military dogs behind in Afghanistan, but there is an effort by a non-profit organization to get dogs out of Kabul.

“To correct erroneous reports, the U.S. Military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, including the reported military working dogs. Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under our care,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby tweeted.

Snopes explained, “These dogs largely belonged to Afghans, embassy employees, and independent defense contractors who were unable to bring their animals with them as they evacuated.”

The Military Working Dog Team Support Association, a nonprofit, wrote on Facebook, “We are 100% certain that there are zero US military working dogs abandoned in Kabul. Zero. The US military did not leave a single MWD behind. We share your anger, frustration and sadness knowing that any dogs were abandoned, but at this time, we cannot verify what day this photo was taken or who is ultimately responsible for these dogs. What we can verify is that these are NOT US military working dogs being abandoned in Kabul.”

Here’s what you need to know:

The Kabul Small Animal Rescue Has Been Trying to Get Dogs & Cats to Safety

What is Kabul Small Animal Rescue? According to its website, “Kabul Small Animal Rescue is a veterinary clinic and non-profit organization that has been helping animals in Afghanistan for over 1 year.”

“Kabul Small Animal Rescue is dedicated to providing safe, healthy boarding options for their rescue partners, who help international adoptions of Afghan cats and dogs. Through their veterinary clinic, they provide high-quality medical care to owned dogs as well as veterinary care, boarding and adoption options to injured or orphaned street animals. Their main focus is to provide a home-like environment for the animals in their care, so they employ overnight staff to keep their cats company and make sure their dogs get several hours of play and socialization every day through monitored playgroups.”

NPR reported in late August that this group was trying to “fundraise at least $1.5 million for a cargo plane that can airlift more than 200 dogs and cats, the rescue organization’s staff, and their families out of the capital safely.”

The article says the animals were left behind by Afghans and embassy workers, as well as local rescue groups and defense contractors.

The Kabul Small Animal Rescue Group Asks People to Stop ‘Tweeting at CENTCOME’ & the State Department

On August 29, the Kabul Small Animal Rescue group wrote, “❗ There are a LOT of things circulating right now that are true, false and/or outdated. It’s been a busy, stressful day. We see them and are choosing not to comment. We will explain everything soon while we work this evacuation effort❗#operationhercules.”

The group also tweeted, “We are working our contacts. Please STOP tweeting at CENTCOM, State Dept, others etc. We have an incredible team working hard right now and focusing where we need it. Thank you.”

On August 29, they wrote, “Things continue to change and progress and change again by the minute. We have the attention of who we need at this time. Thanks so much for getting us to this point.”

On August 29, they wrote, “We are exhausted on 4th day of airport mayhem. It has been difficult for all & we have had some success but have a long way to go and not much time. We remain hopeful in doing our best to move out the staff & animals. We are eternally grateful for all the help. #OperationHercules.”

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